A Dream of You

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Lavinia Raber knows what she wants: a stand at the end of the driveway where she can sell her homemade candy to the Amish and Englischers who drive by her family's prosperous Western New York farm. Everyone loves her confections, but that's not why having her own small business is important to her. The youngest of six sisters, she's the last who's unmarried. Lavinia isn't opposed to settling down someday, but she doesn't want to settle for just anyone, and the local young men aren't exactly vying for her attentions. With her own shop, she'll have some money of her own, so if she does become an old maid taking care of her sisters, at least she won't be completely dependent on anyone. 

Seth Plank has been given a great gift: and a great responsibility. With several brothers and a sister, it's clear there's no room for him in the family's struggling leatherworking business. When Seth's Onkel offers to build him a house and set him up with a workshop, Seth can't say no. There's a great need in Cherry Creek for the horse collars, reins, and harnesses he produces. But if he fails to meet the demand, he'll not only let down his Onkel, he'll let down the rest of his family back home, who are counting on the money he sends to them. Seth needs to focus all his attention on making a success of his business, and one distraction he definitely doesn't need is his Onkel's fiery stepdaughter Lavinia. 

When Lavinia asks Seth if she can have a shelf in his shop to display her chocolates, he's torn. Ephraim has forbidden her from selling anywhere other than the occasional farmers market. He can't go against his Onkel's wishes . . . but his growing feelings for Lavinia make it hard to tell her no. For her part, Lavinia doesn't understand why, no matter how hard she works taking care of everyone else, no one will allow her to follow her dream. It's bad enough her stepfather and Mamm restrict her, but for reasons she's not sure she wants to examine too closely, it really hurts that Seth won't take her side. 

For Seth and Lavinia, letting go for a while may be the only way to move forward. But if they trust themselves, and each other, love could be all the sweeter tomorrow. 

The Characters

Being the eldest child often means having more responsibility. With four younger siblings, Sarah Beth has a firm understanding of the weight she must bear.

After the passing of her Grossmammi -- a loss almost as devastating as the one the King children endured 12 years earlier when both of their parents were killed in a harvesting accident -- Sarah Beth, 24, is left to look after her special needs sister, Cora, 17, and only brother, Toby, 14. As for her 12-year-old twin sisters, Lovina and Luann, other family members felt it would be best for the girls to live with relatives in another church district, decimating the King family once again.

Family is everything to Sarah Beth! And she is determined to get hers back together ... even if that means putting off her thoughts of courtship and starting a family of her own. But why does her heart beat wildly when she meets her handsome new neighbor, Elias Stutzman? Is she drawn to the allure of his deep blue eyes ... or maybe it is the secrets they are hiding?

Life has been anything but easy for Elias ... abandoned by his Mamm who jumped the fence to Englisch life when he was just a kid ... passed along from one distant relative to another ... running with the wrong group of "friends" who always kept him on the outer edge of their circle.

Now, at 29 years old, Elias longs to be accepted for the hardworking man he is today and leave his past behind him. Hickory Meadows, known for its welcoming folks and strong sense of community, could give him the home he has always dreamed of having -- and possibly a family of his own.

But the shocking damage done to his buggy shop soon after his arrival makes it very clear that he is not welcome. Elias knows only a few people, so who would try to run him out of the church district? Maybe it was just a bunch of bored kids. Perhaps he pushed Sara Beth, his attractive new neighbor with the feisty spirit, a little too far. Or has someone from Elias's past discovered his new life?